The sustained decrease in the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity in recent months resulted in lower electricity rates that will apply for the next quarter.
The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) reported that new rates will apply for all eight power companies in the country starting on Jan. 1, 2017. The change in tariffs will vary by company, but will average 5.41 percent, the regulator said in a news release on Wednesday.
ARESEP energy chief Mario Mora said that the agency approved lower rates thanks to the country’s efforts to replace fossil fuels “with energy from renewable sources, and also with cheaper energy bought from the Regional Electricity Market.”
Costa Rica generates most of its electricity using hydroelectric plants. When water reserves are insufficient to meet national demand, power companies turn to thermal plants, particularly during the dry season months of December -April.
Customers of the National Power and Light Company will benefit the most from the reductions, with a 14.75 percent drop in their monthly tariffs. Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) clients will see a 9.76 percent cut in their rates.
The smallest cuts will apply for customers of cooperatives in rural areas such as CoopeAlfaro Ruiz, Coopelesca and Coopesantos.
See the full list of approved changes in rates:
Electricity from renewable sources
ICE officials reported last week that most of the electricity used in Costa Rica this year came from renewable sources. The agency noted that the country surpassed 250 days using only renewable power sources.
During 2016, 98.12 percent of Costa Rica’s energy was generated from renewable sources. Fossil fuels represent only 1.88 percent of the 2016 total, ICE noted.
Most of the electricity this year — 74 percent — came from hydroelectric plants, followed by generation from other renewable sources plants using geothermal, wind, biomass and solar power.